ZGBriefs by Jon Kuert

After his first trip to China in 2001, Jon Kuert served as the director of AFC Global for seven years and was responsible for sending teams of students and volunteers to China and other parts of Asia. After that, he and his wife Elissa moved to Yunnan province where they lived for seven years. While in China, Jon taught English and led language and leadership hikes with university students. Together, he and Elissa also established a small business initiative to help rural Chinese women in difficult life situations. Currently, Jon lives in Minnesota and is the founder and director of Nihao MN, an international student organization dedicated to enriching the Chinese student experience through outdoor adventure and meals around the table.

ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | June 20, 2024

Podcast—Peter Hessler On His New Book, “Other Rivers: A Chinese Education” (June 13, 2024, Sinica Podcast) This week on Sinica, the highly-regarded writer Peter Hessler joins to talk about his new book, out July 9: Other Rivers: A Chinese Education. Over 20 years after teaching with the Peace Corps in Fuling (the subject of his first book, Rivertown, Pete returns to China to teach at Sichuan University in Chengdu. He writes about the two cohorts of students, with whom he has maintained extensive contacts, to offer fascinating insights into how China has changed across this momentous period with touching, deeply human stories.

ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | June 13, 2024

A Cartoon Cat Has Been Vexing China’s Censors—Now He Says They Are On his Tail (June 9, 2024, BBC News) On X, unfettered by China’s censors, yet accessible through virtual private networks, Mr. Li’s following grew. But it only really exploded, to more than a million, in late 2022 during the White Paper protests against China’s punishing zero-Covid measures.

ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | June 6, 2024

When studying the current state of Christianity in the People’s Republic of China, Western observers often quickly fixate on the controls imposed by the current government. Only one Protestant church is legally recognized—the Three Self Patriotic Movement—and therefore many Christians have chosen to worship in house churches that are underground. The government regulates baptisms and prohibits or closely monitors contact with foreign Christians and churches. All of this seems so foreign to our Western concepts of religious freedom. But is it China or America that is the anomaly?

ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | May 30, 2024

Everything You Need to Know about Sight (March 7, 2024, Angel Studios) Sight, starring Terry Chen and Greg Kinnear, follows the true story of Dr. Ming Wang, a Chinese immigrant who defies all odds to become a world-renowned eye surgeon. Drawing upon the grit and determination he gained from a turbulent uprising in his upbringing, Dr. Wang sets out to restore the sight of a blind orphan.

ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | May 23, 2024

Laugh in Translation: Shanghainese Comedy Stands Up to the Mainstream (May 17, 2024, Sixth Tone) Amid a surge of interest in local culture, young Chinese are reconnecting with their heritage through stand-up comedy in various dialects. Comedians are now drawing packed houses and even taking their acts overseas.

ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | May 16, 2024

China’s Chang’e 6 Moon Mission is a Game Changer (May 13, 2024, The Diplomat) China’s bid to return lunar samples from the far side of the Moon will have long-term strategic and geopolitical implications.

ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | May 9, 2024

Red Renaissance (May 6, 2024, China Media Project) In early February, Chinese media teemed with stories of cultural festivities in rural villages countrywide. In a “rural bookroom” in Xinjiang’s Ha’ermodun Village, a series of events “enriched the spiritual lives of villagers,” according to a local news release. More than 4,000 kilometers away, in Fujian’s Shuqiao Village, residents held a “Rural Spring Festival Gala” featuring song and dance performances. These and thousands of similar events across China’s vast rural hinterland are part of a concerted push to achieve what the Chinese Communist Party leadership has called the “revitalization of rural culture.”